Sensors Mag

Securing the Super Bowl

February 2, 2006 By: Sensor Contributor

Think your job is filled with pressure? Jeffrey Ricker is responsible for securing Sunday's Super Bowl from "dirty bombs" and other horrible threats.

So it's no surprise that Ricker, CEO of Distributed Instruments (which he calls a "sensor middleware company") was keen to take advantage of all the sensor power he could. His team set about to integrate the state-of-the-art sensors the Michigan National Guard already has with the system his company has designed to secure the Detroit stadium (Distributed Instruments' software and servers create the systems' backbone). The only problem is that all those various sensors sport many different interfaces.

USB, Wireless, Open Standards, Open Source

On Sunday, National Guard soldiers will "wear" vest-mounted palmtop computers with sensors connected by USB adapters. Wireless sensors scattered about the area will provide further readings. All these data will come together through the Transducer Data Exchange Protocol (TDXP), which works on top of IEEE 1451. The system normalizes all incoming sensor data, "fuses" them to render them meaningful, and makes them internet accessible to National Guard personnel, who can subscribe to whatever data streams they might need at any moment to determine whether a suspected threat is real.

That's a too-brief description of a sophisticated system--but you'll get to learn more about its inner workings, if you like, because the system is built on open source code. And following Sunday's game, Distributed Instruments will turn over TDXP to OASIS (a standards group focused on web services), which will launch it as an open standard.

Keep Watching

Meanwhile, if you haven't already seen Ricker on programs such as last night's ABC news, you can watch for him on Sunday as he explains the security system to Super Bowl viewers.

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